Any new doctors or health specialists looking to set up in the Antigonish area will have some help getting settled into the community.
On Thursday, the St. Martha's Regional Hospital Foundation joined with the town of Antigonish and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish to announce funding for a new community navigator position.
"The community navigator will help support recruitment of doctors at our regional hospital," said Wayne Ezekiel, the foundation's chair. "They'll be responsible for taking care of recruits who are coming into the area to do site visits to show the best our community has to offer."
The three parties gathered Thursday morning to sign the three-year agreement. Over the next three years, each group will provide $30,000 per year for the position to offset salary and other expenses related to the job.
"I think this sends a clear message to our overall community that a partnership like this to attract and retain physicians is critically important for the long-term health and sustainability of our community," said Owen McCarron, the warden of the Municipality of the County of Antigonish.
The community navigator will not only assist doctors during recruiting visits but also help them once they decide to come to live and work in the area. That will include helping them find homes and schools.
They'll also be tasked with selling what the area has to offer.
"We have a very vibrant downtown here in Antigonish," said Laurie Boucher, mayor of the town of Antigonish. "The outlying regions of the county have many beautiful beaches and trails and such, so there's a lot to offer."
Community navigators are quite common in the United Kingdom.
Other communities in Nova Scotia, including neighbouring Pictou County, are already using them.
The new community navigator job for Antigonish will be posted soon.
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